In terms of Emmys, let the streamers battle begin as both Netflix and Amazon are again taking over Hollywood venues to show off their contenders to Television Academy members and other industryites in an up-close-and-personal kind of way.
Today, Netflix announced the lineup for its third annual FYSEE Emmy battle plan, beginning a monthlong campaign May 5 when director Martin Scorsese and Bruce Springsteen launch a series of live events at the Netflix exhibition space and theater at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood. Netflix is the home of the TV special, Springsteen on Broadway, hence the Springsteen connection. Scorsese directed The Irishman, which is expected to be a major player for Netflix in the next Oscar race.
The near-daily series of Q&As, conversations, screenings and interactive events will close June 9 when Oprah Winfrey will host director Ava DuVernay and the cast of their limited series When They See Us, the story of the so-called Central Park Five. The real men who lived the story will also be included in that evening (the series debuts May 31).
During its run, according to Netflix, FYSEE will host “dozens of insightful and in-depth curated conversations, performances, wall-to-wall displays that take visitors inside various series, and special themed events featuring Ellen DeGeneres, Quincy Jones, the return of David Letterman among many others, as well as top creatives from in front of and behind the camera.” The full schedule includes dramas Bodyguard, House of Cards, Ozark and The Umbrella Academy; comedies Russian Doll, The Kominsky Method, GLOW (the subject of an all day “binge-a-thon”) and debuting series Dead to Me; animated series BoJack Horseman, Disenchantment and Big Mouth; documentary series Our Planet, Making a Murderer Part 2, and Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes; and more like Queer Eye and Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj; and food shows Salt Fat Acid Heat, Chef’s Table and Nailed It!
Netflix took bragging rights last season for the first time when they topped HBO (narrowly) for most overall Emmy nominations. However, unlike rival streamers Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, they have so far failed to win either of the marquee series categories. Amazon became the first streamer to take Comedy Series honors last year for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, while two years ago Hulu became the first to win Drama Series with The Handmaid’s Tale. Netflix will also be missing some of their key Emmy movers and shakers like The Crown and Stranger Things, which don’t have eligible seasons this year, but clearly on sheer volume alone they are trying to make up the difference.
Among newer offerings, I would say the rising Ozark is Netflix’s best bet to break into real Drama Series contention after gaining initial traction last Emmy season, while insiders point to the new Russian Dolls as a newbie they have high hopes for in Comedy Series. Although eligible for its third (and final) season, the recently canceled One Day at a Time isn’t among those shows mentioned among the FYSEE events as it has been for its first two seasons, when it didn’t see many nominations (only for editing in each year) despite critical acclaim for Norman Lear’s Latino-focused reboot.
Meanwhile, not to be outdone, Amazon Prime Video is returning to its temporary Emmy Campaign central at the Hollywood Athletic Club with The Prime Experience, where you can tour installations and immersive experiences for original series including Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Homecoming, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Romanoffs, Good Omens, Catastrophe, Fleabag and more. The Prime Experience is also hosting FYC screenings and panels including one with Hugh Grant appearing to tout his TV outing in A Very English Scandal, as well as special partner nights open to the public. It launches this week with creators and stars of Good Omens and Castastrophe, which both will have their official TV Academy FYC events at the space.
Amazon will be holding court on Sunset Boulevard until May 5, when it presents the official TV Academy FYC screening and panel for Homecoming with director Sam Esmail and star Julia Roberts and cast participating. It will take place at 11 AM that Sunday, so fear not Emmy voters — it will still leave you plenty of time to get over to Raleigh for the Netflix FYSEE launch with Scorsese and Springsteen.
There is no question that a certain contingent of TV Academy members will be doing just that, because remember that each of these daily events at both Netflix and Amazon venues will also feature receptions with plenty of food and drink to lure voters in addition to the talent on hand (Netflix sent elaborate boxes of candy spelling out FYSEE to select press today).
In terms of sheer volume and money being spent, the Emmys continue to challenge and even exceed the Oscars. And as we saw with the hugely expensive and expansive campaign Netflix waged on behalf of Roma in a bid to win the Best Picture Oscar (Green Book was the ultimate winner, but Roma took three other Oscars), streamers seem to be where the money is really at.
That is especially increasingly true with each Emmy season.